NCAA DIVISION II CROSS COUNTRY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SELECTIONS
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. – It was a special day for the Bloomsburg University men's and women's cross country programs on Monday as senior Morgan Ilgenfritz (Loysville, Pa./Boiling Springs) from the women's team and senior Nick McGuire(Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) on the men's side both qualified to compete in the 2018 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships.
In order to be eligible to participate in the championships, teams and individuals had to qualify in their respective NCAA regional competitions that were held this past weekend. Thirty-four teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top three, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the eight regions, for a total of 24 teams. Ten additional teams were selected at-large. Finally, a minimum of 24 additional individuals were selected to participate in each championship through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process.
"Today is an awesome day for Bloomsburg Cross Country," said head coach Bernie Empie. "It is always special to have representation at the NCAA Championships. What makes this even more special is to be represented by a man and woman in the same championship. I am so happy for Nick and Morgan. They have worked so hard for this opportunity."
Ilgenfritz became an automatic qualifier on Saturday by finishing fourth overall at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships. She posted a time of 24:11 in the 6K event and will be making her second trip to the national championships after participating in 2016 as a member of the Huskies' national qualifying team.
"I'm extremely excited for Morgan," said Empie. "She first saw national competition in 2016 as a member of our team that qualified for the championships. For her to make a return to that stage as an individual is a special way to end her cross country career at Bloomsburg."
McGuire, meanwhile, was not an automatic qualifier for the national championships after finishing sixth overall at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships on Saturday. The senior, however, did enough to earn a berth as a wild card in the event. He posted a time of 34:54 in the 10K on Saturday to post the best Huskies' finish since 2006 when Justin Shepherd placed fourth at regionals.
"Nick is the first male to qualify for nationals since I took over the cross country programs in 2009," added Empie. "For me, that make this announcement even sweeter! I could not be more proud of what he has accomplished."
The last time a male competed at nationals was in 2006 when Justin Shepherd finished 34th overall and earned All-American status. Bloomsburg last had both a female and a male qualify the year prior – in 2005 – when Shepherd finished 19th overall on the men's side and Amber Hackenberg placed 48th in the women's race.
The championships will be held on Saturday, December 1 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the Bob O'Conner Golf Course at Schenley Park. Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, and SportsPITTSBURGH will serve as hosts. The men's race will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern, followed by the women's race at 12:15 p.m. Eastern.
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